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25 September 2021

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Hi Labi.
I'm white, male, Scottish, and have struggled with putting my head above the parapet quite a lot over the years (born 1966), so this is a rare occasion. I became aware of race, sexual orientation and then, the unbelievable suffering of people in far-flung countries (1985- Live Aid)as I progressed through my teenage years. I instantly accepted "gay" men through my first encounter with a school classmate, since he seemed so natural in his outwardly "gay" ways (excuse my terminology (i don't know if "gay" or "homosexual" is the accepted term - just a normal part of society to me). For some reason, I fell in line with the (then) accepted opinion of hating the "English" and indeed anyone who was not from Scotland. People "of colour" had no chance of being accepted in those days (by most I should say, not by ALL). I started learning the trombone, aged 12 or so, but didn't like the heaviness of it. I then was given a trumpet from my grandfather and my trumpet tutor was really great - he was black and I think he saw something in me. I really liked the way he treated me - I'm quite sensitive, still. When I moved to secondary school, my music teacher was white, Scottish and quite a horrible person, to me anyway - I stopped playing after he reduced me to tears. There are really two things I would like to say: number one is, thank you for sticking your head above the parapet..I think (hope) there are many like me, white, Scottish or whatever, that don't have that skill or bravery to do that. Number two is, I haven't followed your historical workings, but have always loved one of your songs, and I really like your poetry. I send you my best wishes for being so brave and coherently expressing yourself in the name of humanity. As you know, the rich and powerful make almost all of the laws but sometimes the philosophers break through. All the best, Labi. It has been a help to my mental health hearing my favourite song of yours. Geoff Hunter (honter in gmail).

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